ROBERT ASHLEY – Composer
Robert Ashley is known for his work in new forms of opera. In the 1960s, Ashley organized Ann Arbor’s legendary ONCE Festival and directed the ONCE Group. During the 1970s, he directed the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College, toured with the Sonic Arts Union, and produced and directed Music with Roots in the Aether, a 14-hour television opera/documentary about the work and ideas of seven American composers. Ashley wrote and produced Perfect Lives, an opera for television widely considered the precursor of “music-television.” The stage version of Perfect Lives, Atalanta (Acts of God) and Now Eleanor’s Idea toured throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. Dust was commissioned for premiere at the Kanagawa Arts Foundation in Yokohama, and Celestial Excursions for the Berlin Festival. Most recently Concrete was presented at Roulette in Brooklyn. Ashley is working on his latest opera, Quicksand, which was first released as in novel form by Burning Books. Ashley’s book Outside of Time: Ideas about Music, was published by MusikTexte in 2009, and Kyle Gann’s biography of Robert Ashley is forthcoming from the University of Illinois Press.
Photo image credit: Joanne Savio, 2007